Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Here are some disorganized thoughts about healthcare

I think the characterization of the faceless rich lining their pockets while we suffer has been over-dramatized. I doubt the health care industry in general profits as much as say, the energy or finance industries, and there are probably sectors of it that barely make a profit which would be considered healthy.

No one really supports taking the government completely out of our 'Free Market.' We have tons of constraints placed on our industries by the government and some make our problems worse. Health care is a very 'regulated' industry as it is.

I don't really get scared away by labels of Socialism, we've always had some constraints in this country so its not like anyone is really a Free Market purist; controls by themselves aren't bad.

I just think that hospitals will continue to overcharge and now they'll have a growth in patients who, on a gov't plan, pay them less. This and the fees leveled against insurance providers will make it so private insurance costs go up and they will pass that cost on to your employer making it harder for your employer to pay you or pay someone else like you.

Most of my apprehension is from my first hand exposure to the French system. The amount of transfer payments that an employer is required to pay to hire an employee adds up to more than half of the employee's annual salary. The payments go up if the employee is laid off and firing people becomes extremely difficult due to some additional constraints. Basically, France's economy can only grow by creating new business that earns enough to cover an employee + 60%. This means that those who are educated enough to get into a highly productive industry can make some profit and grow, but the working class becomes more and more dependent on the government and in turn those in their country who actually grow some sectors of their economy. The incentive for the productive members of society to make progress is progressively reduced.

We don't have a history of government programs that cover our citizens 100% besides things that protect us like police, fire, speed limits etc. So I see this as a first step toward inevitable stagnation (like France), and my feelings are negative about it.

My hope is that people will be more relaxed about health care and as a result become more productive. Perhaps our country will be made stronger by a class of people who are now provided for in a way that was previously not possible. I'm skeptical about that, however.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Plea for a Plastic Free Subscription

From: Jonathan Clark
Subject: A Plea for a Plastic Free Subscription to your Magazine
To: subscriptions@wired.com, info@wired.com, editor@wired.com
Date: Monday, March 22, 2010, 10:25 PM

Dear Wired Magazine and Conde Nast Media Group,

My name is Jonathan Clark and I am a current subscriber to Wired. My account number is ____________.

I would like to request that you offer a subscription option to your magazine that would be guaranteed NOT to be wrapped in a plastic bag while in transit to my house. I understand that you need to protect the quality of the magazine as well as the advertising devices inside, but I am so tired of extra plastic packaging on my products that I would rather not receive your magazine than see another issue in my mailbox wrapped in plastic.

My subscription expires this month and I will not renew unless you can offer me a plastic-wrap free subscription.


Jonathan Clark

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jonathan's Volunteer Trip to Haiti

I wanted to let my blog and FaceBook-o-sphere know about an upcoming volunteer trip that I am taking to Haiti. I'm pasting the details below. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I am sending you this letter because I thought you might be interested in some of the details regarding an upcoming trip to Haiti that I will be taking. I stumbled across an opportunity to participate in a short term, medical mission trip with Fairfax (Va) Community Church to Port au Prince, Haiti. I’ll be gone from April 10th to April 17th.

I say ‘stumbled across’ because I do not attend Fairfax Community Church. In fact, I only found out about the opportunity because my sister who lives in Northern Virginia attended the church and sent me information about their trips to Haiti. The church is committed to sending a team of volunteers every month for 6 months. The first team was made up of mostly doctors and they assisted in a triage surgery center in Port au Prince in January. The April team will hopefully consist of a full medical ‘field unit’ who can go out into existing medical field stations and provide care. I will be assisting with French translation for the doctors and nurses who have also volunteered. Check out the following link for more information and updates: http://www.fairfaxcommunity.net/helphaiti

In preparation for this trip, I am building a group of supporters who would be willing to donate money and/or even best wishes as I get ready. Each team member needs to raise the cost of their flight to Haiti, and I will also need to get myself to Virginia to meet up with the team before we all leave together. The cost of the flight to Haiti is arranged through travel agents who are willing to offer a discounted rate to missionaries and will cost about $1200. If you are willing to be part of my support team, please fill out the attached form and return it to Fairfax Community Church by April 9, 2010. If for some reason, I am unable to go on the trip, the funds I have raised will go toward Fairfax’s ongoing Haitian outreach.

For those of you whose companies offer corporate gift matching, know that Fairfax’s EIN is 54-0895396, and they were already in our giving system here at Microsoft. If you give a gift and request a match, you can add a note indicating that the gift is for Jonathan Clark’s trip to Haiti April 10-17 Attn: Chris Wagner. What is exciting is that Laura is planning on going on a follow up trip in June, so any matching gifts could be potentially applied to her trip.

Thank you for your time and investment. I look forward to sharing with you, when I return, about my experiences and observations. I appreciate your support and I encourage you to think of me in your thoughts or prayers while I prepare for what will undoubtedly be an unpredictable and exciting experience.

Best Regards,



I, _______________________________, am committed to sending Jonathan Clark on the mission trip to Haiti April 10-17:

I will support you financially. Enclosed is a check made out to Fairfax Community Church in the amount of _________________. (For tax purposes, please do not write the name of the participant on check. Instead, enclose this form with your check so the funds can be dispersed appropriately.)

Final Contributions due by April 9.
Mail to: Fairfax Community Church
11451 Braddock Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
ATTN: Haiti Mission Trip

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